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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Brian Price struggles to overcome loss of sister

TAMPA — Training camp looks different when viewed through a facemask. No player really enjoys it. The body is aching, the heat is stifling and the long days are a mental and physical grind.

But pain already is a constant companion for Bucs defensive tackle Brian Price.

Last season, Price played through extraordinary discomfort from surgeries to repair both hamstrings and a pelvic fracture. But that's nothing compared to the anguish he suffers over the loss of his 33-year-old sister, Bridget James, who died in a hit-and-run automobile accident in May in Los Angeles.

"I'm doing better, I've been working out well," Price said recently. "I'm feeling better than I've been in a while, even though I have a lot going on. I'm still trying to grieve and trying to cry. Today I had a breakdown, because it hit me again she's gone."

Two weeks after the accident, Price spent four days in a Tampa hospital suffering from physical and mental exhaustion. He tried to participate in the final week of team workouts. But after a fight with rookie safety Mark Barron in the team meeting auditorium, Price was excused from mandatory minicamp by coach Greg Schiano and spent the rest of offseason in Los Angeles.

Price would not comment on his scrap with Barron, which reportedly occurred when the first-round pick was in the wrong chair in a team meeting.

The bigger issue, Price said, was that he could no longer grieve alone.

"I needed my family," he said. "I was down and out. I never felt like this before. They felt it was right for me to be with my family and that's what I needed the most. It's hard to grieve on your own and be all the way on the other side of the country from the only people who understand what you're going through."

Tragedy is no stranger to Price or his family. He lost two older brothers to gang-related shootings by the time he was 15. Bridget helped the family heal from those losses.

Now it's Price's turn. He said he will eventually adopt Bridget's sons, ages 7 and 9, and plans to bring them to Tampa this week. But they will return in a few weeks to attend school in California.

"My mom really needs them around right now," Price said.

The Bucs have reason to worry about Price. Though he played 15 games last season, the team hasn't really been able to monitor his continued rehabilitation from the injury.

Price said he worked with Utah-based trainer Alex Guererro, whose client list includes Tom Brady, "because he's good at breaking up scar tissue." Price also enlisted the help of Pasadena City College men's and women's track coach Larry Wade, former North Carolina defensive line coach John Blake and Fox analyst Jay Glazer, who trains MMA fighters.

"I was crying before working out the other day," Price said. "I spent 20 minutes on the ground. Somebody wanted me to quit and go home but I finished and had one of the best workouts I've ever had."

Price said he will report to training camp with the rest of the veterans Thursday at One Buc Place. The first workout is Friday and Price said he's looking forward to being reunited with his teammates.

"I know during the season, I'm going to have moments," Price said. "But that's what it means being a pro. No matter how you feel or what you're going through, you've got to perform."

Around the league

The Lions released cornerback Aaron Berry on Monday, two days after he was arrested in Harrisburg, Pa., for allegedly pointing a loaded handgun at three people. It was Berry's second arrest in a month, and the seventh for a Lion since the end of last season.

FIRST-ROUND SIGNINGS: The Cowboys signed cornerback Morris Claiborne (No. 6 overall out of LSU) to a four-year, $16.26 million deal, reported. … The Browns signed running back Trent Richardson (No. 3, Alabama) for four years, $20.5 million. … The Lions signed offensive tackle Riley Reiff (No. 23, Iowa); the Detroit Free-Press reported it was for four years, about $8 million.

JURISPRUDENCE: The mother of Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant told authorities she doesn't want to pursue a case against her son after an argument allegedly turned violent. … Felony charges against Eagles running back Dion Lewis and his brother for falsely setting off a fire alarm were dropped.

BOUNTY CASE: Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith met in New Orleans with NFL lawyers and Federal Magistrate Daniel Knowles III, but lawsuits concerning their bounty-related suspensions were not resolved.

TRADES: The Raiders sent receiver Louis Murphy, a former Lakewood High and Florida standout, to the Panthers for an undisclosed conditional draft choice. Carolina also got an undisclosed pick from the Jets for offensive tackle Jeff Otah.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Brian Price struggles to overcome loss of sister 07/23/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:13am]
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